By Derek Lawrence
May 07, 2021 at 06:00 AM EDT
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Fittingly for his 2 Fast 2 Furious audition, Ludacris had to go too fast.

For the latest episode of EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga, the rapper-turned-actor reflected back on 2003's Vin Diesel-less sequel. At the time Ludacris (real name Chris Bridges) was rising to the top of the music game thanks to his Grammy-nominated album Word of Mouf, but his only acting credit had been a cameo in Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's The Wash. And yet, when The Fast and the Furious alum Ja Rule missed out on joining Paul Walker and Tyrese for 2 Fast, director John Singleton called up the Atlanta area code.

"I was on tour with Eminem and I got the call, because I believe Ja Rule was supposed to get this part and they couldn't come to an agreement or something like that," Ludacris tells hosts Derek Lawrence and Chanelle Berlin Johnson. "At the last minute they had to hurry up and fill this role. I remember right before getting on stage, I was in my dressing room and someone told me, 'You have to try out for this part. They only have one day so you've got to put it on tape now, and here's the sides and you've got to do it.' I'm like 15, 20 minutes from going on stage... It's that crunch situation of, 'Am I going to get this part? I don't know. I don't have too much time to even think about being nervous about reading these lines. I just got to do this s---.' And I did it, and the rest is f---ing history."

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS
Credit: Everett Collection

While Ja Rule had played the small role of L.A. street racer Edwin in the first Fast film, Ludacris took on the new part of Tej Parker, owner of a Miami garage — and future tech genius. And if you see a little bit of Ludacris in early Tej, you're not the only one.

"It's Ludacris in music and then Tej in the movie," says Ludacris, noting the hit song "Act a Fool" he made for 2 Fast. "But the good thing, humbly speaking, is that it wasn't too far of a stretch from my regular, everyday, ordinary personality. So I kind of was able to play Ludacris to a degree, because if it's my real first movie role, I think that's a great transition to not be able to go too far the first time. It's kind of like you're just learning the fundamentals of what's going on. So I'm not saying I was playing Ludacris in 2 Fast, but it wasn't too far of a f---ing stretch from it."

2 Fast would be the launching pad for Ludacris, the actor, as he'd go on to star to Hustle & Flow, Crash, Fred Claus, and more. Those opportunities all came as he operated under the assumption that "never in a million years" would Fast return to his life, Ludacris admits now having been brought back in 2011's Fast Five and starred in every installment since.

"I'm the luckiest human being alive," he declares. "The two top things that everyone in the world wants to do, be a movie star and a rockstar, and I'm actually living it out. It's surreal for me to even say that."

Speaking of wild talk, when Ludacris wasn't pinching himself or recalling his 2 Fast experience, he served as the hype-man for the upcoming (and space-bound) F9. Or at least the hype-man proxy.

"Sometimes people just say cliche things — not with this movie — I'm saying in general," he explains. "It would be like, 'Yo, this is my best album,' because you're trying to promote that album and you want it to sell. [Director] Justin [Lin] looked me in my eye twice and said, 'Fast 9 is the best out of the entire franchise.' Listen, for him to say that, I can't wait to see it."

To listen, subscribe to EW's BINGE: The Fast Saga feed via Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also subscribe to EW's YouTube page to catch all the video interviews, and stay tuned to EW.com for even more Fast coverage, including next week's episode with Lucas Black talking The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Anything you can think of. This whole culture of just your car being your world, it's always been something I've been a part of. And then to see the movie come out, it was the first one of its kind that really just hit that emotional button that connected how we feel about our vehicles in life.

Clip:

All right, back up. Back up. Get off the street. Off the street. Let's go. Back it up. Back it up. Everybody, keep your hands real, really clear, all right? I got a surprise for y'all this evening.

Derek Lawrence:

Ask any podcaster, any real podcaster. Doesn't matter if you record in person or over video chat, podcasting's podcasting. Welcome back to EW's BINGE of The Fast Saga, full transcripts of which are available on EW.com. I'm Derek Lawrence, aka, the guy who went as Dominic Toretto for two straight Halloweens. And as that icon once said, the most important thing in life will always be the people on this Zoom right here, right now. For me, that's always the Dom to my Brian, the Letty to my Mia, the Roman to my Tej, the Gisele to my Han, Chanelle Berlin Johnson. Chanelle, are you too excited to talk 2 Fast 2 Furious?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yes, beyond excited. I have told you this, but the listeners do not know that, until Fast Five came out, this was actually my favorite Fast & Furious movie. I have obviously a lot of love for the first one, but 2 Fast is really where it was at for me.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, for me, as I revealed to Ludacris ... Spoiler alert, we're talking to Ludacris today. As I revealed to him, I wrote an article on the 15th anniversary of this film, literally with the headline, 2 Fast 2 Underrated. So, that says right there everything you need to know of my opinion on this one. It's unlike any of the other Fast movies, and that could be said about a lot of them, right? I feel like the first four are pretty unique to themselves, where you could probably, starting five, you can more group them all together, and see that more specific characteristics that carry through.

Derek Lawrence:

But as a refresher for any new listeners, in case the Cole Hauser-heads are just jumping in now. Carter Verone stans, stand up. But ahead of F9's June 25th release, we kicked off our binge last week of Fast & Furious saga. We had Vin Diesel, the Fast patriarch himself, to talk about the original film. And now, we're ready for an all-timer with Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, who made his triumphant debut as a Miami mechanic turned tech genius, Tej Parker, in this second Fast film. Incredible chat with Luda. It was a lot of fun.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

So ready.

Derek Lawrence:

There's one specific moment. At the end, I'll touch back on it, but there's one moment that is been just replaying in my head over and over from it, so we'll talk about that after everybody gets a chance to listen to it. But Chanelle, what do people need to know about 2 Fast, or, as I tell Luda, the greatest movie title in history?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, the first thing, the biggest thing, obviously, is at the end of Fast 1, Dom gets car from Brian. Brian goes on the run. He's basically given up the cop life. He goes across the country, doing races to make money. You could even watch this in the prelude to 2 Fast 2 Furious, called Turbo Charged, which is basically just like an extended music video of Paul Walker driving across the country as Brian. Minka Kelly's in it, so check that out if you have not seen it somehow. But the law catches up with him in Miami, and he knows already the Tej character there. He knows Suki, who is hanging out with Tej at the time. But the law catches up with him, and they offer him a deal. Basically, "If you help us bring down Carter Verone, then we'll clean your records." And he is supposed to be paired with another officer, but of course, loops in and goes to recruit Roman Pearce, who is his estranged, at this time, childhood friend. They've had a bit of a falling out. And of course, we know where it goes from there. Of course, Roman becomes a bigger part of the series, but this is where we first meet him. Eva Mendes also plays an undercover officer in with Carter Verone's crew, who may or not have turned, it's suggested, I guess. But like you know, they succeed. It all works out.

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, you had me the whole time, but you bring up Eva Mendes, and I'm beyond sold, again, for something else we'll get into. Stick around after our chat with Luda. Me and Chanelle will go further into 2 Fast. One more warning ... I don't know, you're listening to a Fast podcast, we're going to talk spoilers for any and all films, even if they're the films that we're not necessarily specifically talking about on this episode. Now, we'll jump to our chat with Luda.

Derek Lawrence:

It's going to be an all-timer today, and that's because we're joined by Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, also affectionately known as Tej Parker. Luda, welcome to our BINGE of Fast & Furious.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Yeah, man. Thank you for having me. What's going on?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Happy to have you here.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. I mean, we're so excited to talk to you, especially excited that we're chatting 2 Fast 2 Furious, which I'll always believe is the greatest title in film history. Agree or disagree?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Man, you know what? Off the top of my head, I think there is one that is better. If it comes to me during this podcast, I will let you know. But it's up there with the best of them, but I don't know if it's the absolute best title.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, I always feel bad for all the rest of the Fast movies that come out, because I feel like it's hard to ... Even Fast Five's a great title, but to me, there's just something about the 2 Fast 2 Furious that can never fully be topped, even though we keep hoping.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

It's a marketing ploy all within itself, so you're 100%.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, it's the one people reference for everything. You have a sequel to anything, they 2 Fast, they play on it. So, it's iconic.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I'm sitting here. I was trying to be like, "Maybe there's a better title." But now that I think about it, you might be on to something, because when people think about sequels, they try to add that 2 to it because of it. So, it may have set a precedent instead of whole trend.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

So, I take everything back. You were right. 2 Fast 2 Furious is the best title of all movies, because it set the stage for a whole bunch of other sequels, and people putting 2 in the damn second name.

Derek Lawrence:

Well, it even let me ... For the 15th anniversary a couple years ago, I wrote something about 2 Fast, and I literally titled the article 2 Fast 2 Underrated. It just gives so many opportunities for that kind of word play, so we have to appreciate a thing like that.

Derek Lawrence:

We start out each of these episodes by, we quote the great Dominic Toretto. He lives his life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters. For those 10 seconds or less, he's free. So, I know you're great at quickly summarizing stuff, as I just found out earlier with you talking F9. How would you summarize 2 Fast 2 Furious in 10 seconds or less?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I would summarize it as Ludacris. Hell yeah. That's all-

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, it's actually correct.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

That was a half a second. You didn't even need one second.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, done.

Derek Lawrence:

You would've won that race for sure. I mean, what is the first thing you think about when you reflect or think back to 2 Fast 2 Furious?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Man, it's just pure joy, because a lot of people don't realize or know that John Singleton had me try out. I was on tour with Eminem at the time, and I got the call. I realize it now, because I believe Ja Rule was supposed to get this part, and they couldn't come to an agreement, or something like that.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

And at the last minute, they had to hurry up and fill this character's role. So, me being on stage, I mean, I just remember right before getting on stage, I was in my dressing room, and someone told me, "You have to try out for this part. They only have like one day, so you got to put it on tape now. Here's the sides, and you got to do it."

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I'm like 15, 20 minutes from going on stage. I'm looking over the sides, and I'm like, "Here's a great opportunity. Let me just give it the best that I have within the timeframe." And I did it, and I got the call the next day. John Singleton told me I got the part.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

So, when you ask me, what's the first thing I think of, it's that crunch situation of, "Am I going to get this part? I don't know. I don't have too much time to even think about being nervous about reading these lines or nothing. I just got to do the shit." And I did it, and the rest is fucking history, man.

Derek Lawrence:

How did that performance go that night? I mean, your [inaudible 00:08:22] to do the sides. I mean, obviously that comes easy to you, so maybe you probably didn't need that last 15 minutes to get ready for that.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Yeah, the hard part was trying to act. Fucking rapping is what I did on [crosstalk 00:08:32]. On stage was perfectly fine. I was like, "This is new to me." But to go into what you're saying, the whole 2 Fast 2 Furious experience just brings me so much joy.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

One of the greatest stories I have is that, because nobody had ever worked with me on a movie set, there's this stereotype that rappers get, sometimes rightfully so. And I just remember being called on set two, three hours before I was actually really supposed to be there.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

And I didn't realize till after the movie, they just thought I was going to show up late every day. They thought I'd have a whole 50-fucking-people entourage with me every day, hanging around the trailer, weed smoke all over the place, loud-ass music basting, messing up the whole damn scene, everything.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I did none of that stuff, man. I showed up professional. I was grateful for the opportunity. So, I was kind of pissed that I was sitting in my trailer for two to three hours, [crosstalk 00:09:26] like, "When do we shoot? When is this going to happen?" That's what the hell's going on with me.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Do you remember, what was the first thing that you shot when you got to set that first day?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

The first thing I shot was the fucking opening scene, believe it or not. So, that whole thing where I was like, "Light them up. Light them up." The very first scene of the entire movie with my Afro all the way out, that was my first time on camera performing on a movie of that caliber, period.

Clip:

Yo, Jimmy, man, give me the status. Tell them, we good.

Clip:

You got it, man.

Clip:

Beautiful. It's going to be an all-timer tonight. All right, all right, all right, fire them up.

Derek Lawrence:

Such an all-time intro. Fast really nails the intros. With Vin in the first movie, they set up from behind just like they do for you in 2 Fast. Dwayne gets an incredible intro in Fast Five, and it's something they do so well.

Derek Lawrence:

No one could've predicted that we'd be approaching the ninth one here. I mean, what was your relationship with the first Fast movie? You get the call for 2 Fast. Were you a fan of that original? Had you already checked it out? Where were you at with that?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Of course, man, I was a fan. And I was just so happy that you have this subculture, that just literally broke wide, because anybody knows, not only myself, but just coming from a certain place, cars are our world, man. I do all my writing with my music in my car.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

People know about this Acura Legend. If you followed me on social media, I've had pretty much my whole life, racing, doing donuts, anything you can think of. This whole culture of just your car being your world, it's always been something I've been a part of.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

And then to see the movie come out, it was the first one of its kind that really just hit that emotional button that connected how we feel about our vehicles in life.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Did being in the Fast movies elevate how into car culture you were? With Sung, he told us it gave him access to stuff that he hadn't even dreamed up, even though he loved cars all his life. Was it the same for you?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I would say 100%. So, all these NOS tanks, and making your car go ... We knew to take the ... I think it's called the governor. If you take the governor off of certain things, even if we had go karts and things of that nature, you need a motorized vehicle.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

But when you started seeing the movie, and you started seeing them putting tanks to make their cars go faster, we were getting all type of ideas. So, I would say it opened my eyes 100% to a lot more than what we were used to.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Also, something, like you mentioned the Acura. What I would love to see, and if you would ever be open to it, Tej in the Acura in a movie. I feel like, just give the car an opportunity to be a hero would be amazing, just one time at least.

Derek Lawrence:

Car doesn't want to risk it though.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I agree. You wouldn't want to risk it, because you don't want to take anything of our real lives and try and put it in the movie, so you got to keep those worlds separate. If Vin can just out of a fucking moving vehicle 15 times, and you don't even see any blood on his arm, I don't think they want to cross these two worlds [crosstalk 00:12:44].

Derek Lawrence:

You mentioned this was your first major role. Word of Mouf had just come out just before you guys did 2 Fast, and that was a smash. You had done cameo in The Wash, but obviously that was a small, little thing. So, were there any nerves in perparing to take on such a major role in such a big movie?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

100%, man. That's a great question. I was nervous as hell, and I think what made me comfortable was, John Singleton himself, may he rest in peace. He made me feel extremely comfortable, especially during that opening scene. After that, I was ready to go.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I remember having these pep talks with him, and making sure, "Are you sure we got the take? I could do it again. This is my first real movie debut. I want to make sure it's right." He really was just great in term some of making me feel confident.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Later on in the movies, improv becomes such a big part of what you and Tyrese do, but did that start in 2 Fast? Did you get to play around like that too? Did John give you that space?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Yeah, yeah, I got to play around a little bit. Obviously, if you recall, me and Tyrese's characters weren't as close as we were in the latter. So, I was kind of on my own. I stuck more to the script just because I was establishing this character as well.

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, did you have conversations with John about the background of Tej? I know in Fast Five, we get the great line of, "I had a life before you knew me, O'Conner." So, what were those conversations like with John?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

It worked, man, because it was a lot of me trying to figure out why I have to have a limp in 2 Fast 2 Furious, because I had got in a car wreck or something like that. It's funny. In Fast Five, my leg is perfectly fine. I have no more injured leg.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I guess we take a couple years. Maybe it healed. Whatever. But that was one of the things, having the backstory, and trying to understand how much of a hustler he is. But we didn't go too in depth, he didn't want to drown me in character, but just enough to get in the mindset of where this character lives in, and how he acts, and who he is.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Obviously, you worked with Paul Walker in the movie, and he's already been in the Fast 1 movie. What was it like to meet him, and be welcomed into the universe in that way? Did he help bridge movie 1, movie 2, and all that stuff? What was it like talking to him and getting to know what the world was in that way?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Man, probably, our birthdays are like one day apart, man. In terms of just characteristics and personality, I think him and I were closest on set between anybody. He definitely helped, man. He definitely makes you feel confident just because he's so down to earth.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

He's so extremely humble. He'll tell you straight what it is. And just his energy, man, I miss that energy so much. So, to answer your question, I agree. Yes, he definitely was one that always was willing to have a conversation and help out as well, and be a joy on set with whenever you were in the scene with him.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, obviously, you come into this one joining Paul, but also, Tyrese does as well. Well, first off, how well did you know Tyrese, coming into this. Obviously, you guys have really been doing big things in music. So, we you guys already familiar with each other, know each other coming in?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

We really got cool on the movie set. We didn't really know each other like that beforehand. I'm sure we came across each other's paths, but on 2 Fast 2 Furious, we were shooting in Miami. So, that should let you know right there. We became really cool on that movie set, man, and being in Miami and having fun on and off set.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, I could only imagine. I remember talking to the cast of Any Given Sunday back a couple years ago, and they were talking about shooting in Miami, and they were like, "Yeah, it's what you think it was." So, I'm sure, 2 Fast, it was the same.

Derek Lawrence:

So, what's it been like then, developing this hilarious Odd Couple dynamic over the years with Tyrese, between Tej and Roman? Obviously, it delivers so many great moments through the years.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Man, it does, man, and I just love that they give us the certain amount of freedom to do us. Obviously, we'll say whatever they want us to say on script, and then obviously they'll give us one or two more takes, and we just go crazy. A lot of times, what they end up using is some of the stuff that we just came off the head with.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

And I think that's what makes people love our dynamic so much. It's like that off-screen as well, man. We just like to have fun. When you look back at it, all the memories that we've had, and not only cracking the whole cast up, but cracking each other up, it's definitely something that will make you smile each and every single time, man.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Obviously, that really takes off in Fast Five, but did you feel the seeds of what that could be at all when you were doing 2 Fast? You didn't overlap a ton, but you share a little bit of time on-screen.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Man, it's funny you ask that, because we didn't really, because we were so focused on just delivering what we were supposed to deliver for that particula movie. And then, when it came to Five, it was just like, "Okay, now we get to play with it a little bit more."

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

But we weren't, because even our relationship in 2 Fast 2 Furious was completely different. That was a great question. I never even thought about that. Great question.

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, we have to talk Act a Fool. It's a great song on its own, but then a great song that fits perfectly into the film. I mean, first, I love it. Always an incredible heat check to me when a musician can be in a movie, and then not playing themselves, and then one of their songs is also in the movie.

Derek Lawrence:

It almost breaks the fourth wall, which I love about that. But what was the process of making Act a Fool? Was that something they asked you to do when you signed on, or how did that come about in obviously such a great hit?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Yeah, it was John. John was the one who spearheaded that. He said, "I need a song," and that's exactly what we did. He was the director on the music video as well. Yeah, it was Ludacris in music, and Tej in the movie. But the good thing, humbly speaking, is that it wasn't too far of a stretch from my regular everyday ordinary personality.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

So, I was able to play Ludacris to a degree in [crosstalk 00:18:53], because if it's my real first movie role, I think that's a great transition to not be able to go too far the first time. You're just learning the fundamentals of what's going on.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I'm not saying I was playing Ludacris in 2 Fast 2 Furious, but it wasn't too far of a fucking stretch from that. There you go. When you get a movie like Crash, and Hustle and Flow, and all that other stuff, and even Law & Order, which they keep replaying now, that's where the real acting came into play. But it was just a great time.

Derek Lawrence:

You don't want people thinking, "That's Ludacris," in some of those roles.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Exactly.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

In 2 Fast, you do have another person who is kind of your partner, which is Devon Aoki's character, Suki. What was it like working with her? And do you guys still keep in touch at all now?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Another great question. Obviously, I don't know if you guys know this, but her father started Benihana restaurant chain. Since I've been a kid, it's been my favorite restaurant of all times, and when I was filming with her ... Don't get me wrong, she was great, and she still is great, and we still do talk, and I love her, her personality, everything about her.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

But I was definitely trying to use the relationship to go to Benihana as much as I possibly could. I think she knows that. I was very candid with her. I loved it, because she took me one time, and I remember the person bringing over just a blank piece of paper or something, and she just signed off on it, because her dad owns the whole entire ...

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

We could get whatever, so I was ordering everything. I was [crosstalk 00:20:29] sous chefs over to the fucking table. I want it all. This is all free. I know the owner. I'm taking advantage of this opportunity. I made her take me to Benihana's probably eight damn times. I love it.

Derek Lawrence:

Do we think that's how Tyrese got GibsiHana, and didn't get any legal action taken against him? Is that how the thing-

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I don't think that had anything to do with it whatsoever, because I don't think Tyrese was there with us, but when I tell you, I juiced that relationship. And in retrospect, I have to say, she knows it, so I'm saying ... I just saw her not too long ago in LA, and I was just thanking her for the Benihana's food.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

That's amazing.

Derek Lawrence:

That's so awesome. There's so many great scenes in 2 Fast, but do you have a personal favorite, whether you're in it or not?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Man, it is, but it would be very hard for you guys to ... It was part of the racing scenes, and the reason it's one of my favorite parts is because they used to actually let us drive the cars, and then-

Derek Lawrence:

Not anymore.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

... they had extra cars on standby if we were to wreck one of them, or if something was to happen. So, you have these cars, and then you have like five duplicate cars on standby. And so now, recently, obviously because of liability issues, you get stunt men that do most of the stuff, so that we can continue shooting.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

But my best memories lie in the fact that I was actually driving some of those cars, and there was a scene where I know Paul Walker was driving one as well. And we just had so much fun being the Tom Cruises of today. You were actually doing your own stunts.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Don't get me wrong, we still do some of our own stunts, but when it comes to those cars, very rare do they let us get the real nitty gritty work done. It's a whole second unit there, basically.

Derek Lawrence:

Speaking of favorites, I have to ask you. There's so many great quotes in this movie, but I got to ask you, what gives you the biggest laugh or kick still, Tyrese's delivery of, "We hungry," or Paul's all-time delivery of, "I said forget about it, cuh."

Derek Lawrence:

I just watch that on replay sometimes. Both of those are incredible. But I don't know, do you have one personal favorite?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Man, during Paul Walker, "Forget about it, cuh," only because we were laughing about that way after the take. It was just the running joke the entire rest of the movie. So funny, and he kept repeating it over and over.

Derek Lawrence:

I loved too, the cameras zooms in on him too. It's like the camera knows, "Okay, he's about to do it right now," and it just cuts in on him, and it's just so perfect.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

It is.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

But yeah, John was in on it. Everybody was. They loved that, man. Got to love it.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

That's amazing.

Clip:

Let your man go, huh?

Clip:

Drop it. I don't want to talk about it.

Clip:

Drop it, hell. I want to hear about this, homie.

Clip:

I said forget about it, cuh.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Back to the cars real quick. You got to drive them around. Is that part of what made you ... I saw on Conan, you said that you bought a car from every Fast & Furious movie. It start with that, and just getting to experience the different ones, and picking out your favorites?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Not necessarily doing the stunts, because on the first one, I did buy that Louis Vuitton truck. That was at the flashy stage of my life, where it was just getting all this stuff. And it's so crazy because, if you remember that story, I told them, I had to sell that car [crosstalk 00:23:45] later.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I couldn't even drive that in Atlanta. Everyone was following me, honking their horn, taking pictures. I'm like, "What did I sign up for? This is not [crosstalk 00:23:54]." I got out of that flashy stage real quick. So, there you have it.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Do you have a favorite one still now?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Oh, a favorite car from the movies?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Man, believe or not, it still is a old school old-school box Chevy from Five. It's one of the first scenes you see me and Tyrese-

Derek Lawrence:

Oh, when you pull up, yeah.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

... driving these old-school cars, man, because there's a whole old-school culture just everywhere, but in the South, especially, where you take these box Chevys, and it's just a thing, man. You got to love that.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

That's nice.

Derek Lawrence:

You talked about earlier, your introduction, and you got the fro going. But just in general, what was it like developing the look of Tej? I know a colleague of mine is obsessed with the white bucket hat you get to wear. So, there's some really great classic looks in there. What was it like figuring out that look of Tej?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

It was pretty easy, because it was also the look of Ludacris at the time. It was braids, and sometimes your hair is all the way out. So again, easy. Very great transition of my first movie role. I was pretty much doing the same damn things I did on videos. There you go.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

So, later on then, when we get to evolve Tej's character, and he's in more of the tech, what were your thoughts there? What did you want him to become that you were excited to do? What made you want to change it up?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Man, I love the fact that he's a African American extremely intelligent tech-savvy person, but I think what I love the most, the not in your face, but it needs to be said is that he's kind of the glue of all of the different characters, because they rely on him in order to be the heart of these missions, in terms of making ...

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

They all go out, and they delegate duties and do certain things, but I'm the backbone of the entire operation, because if it wasn't for me putting all these strings together, then we wouldn't be able to do that. So, I love being that character that's able to utilize my strengths to help the entire team, and be that heart of the operation.

Derek Lawrence:

What's it like trying to deliver all that tech jargon? We talked to Tyrese, and he's like, "I'm glad Luda's happy to do it." He's like, "I wouldn't want any part of that." Now you got, Nathalie has to figure it out too, but do you even know sometimes the things you're saying? Because I'm watching and I don't, and I'm just like, "I'm assuming Tej knows what he's talking about."

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Sometimes I don't, but then I have to go talk to the writer, and be like, "Yo, what the fuck is this man? [crosstalk 00:26:20] I got to do my best acting job. I need to at least understand what this is, and not just read the words." But there was a part in Five where I'm literally ...

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I'm sure Tyrese probably told you this, or not, but I'm looking down at the camera, but I literally had my sides, and I was actually reading the whole time, because it was so much tech jargon. But the good thing is that my eyeline was right where the sides where.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Me and Tyrese have a ball doing that sometimes, because we're technically not supposed to do it. But if your delivery and your performance is just as good and no one can tell, every now and then, we just do it, man. And it was a perfect timeframe for me to do that.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

And I remember, it was when I was with a remote control car. If you go look back at that scene, I was reading the hell out of them damn lines. Yeah, I ain't doing that now. I can talk about it.

Derek Lawrence:

2 Fast comes out. It's obviously a hit. Did you expect you guys to all run it back together, or were you not surprised when it temporarily went in a different direction with Tokyo Drift?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Oh yeah, man, we thought that was it. We thought it was a wrap. Never in a million years were we like, "Oh yeah, we about to come back and do even more." We just had fun for what it was. And you got to think it was, what? Like five years in between 2 and Five. Something like that.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

So yeah, we had no idea. Absolutely no idea. To get that callback, that's why you see us having so much fun, because we're like, "Yo, this is great." By the way, I haven't seen 9 yet, and obviously we all love 7 for numerous reasons. I'm sure this is one of the questions, but Five is my all-time favorite. My favorite of all of the franchise, Five.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

The way it's put together, the cinematography, the storyline, the characters. What do you call it when it goes from one scene together ... the-

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Continuity?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Yeah. I mean, all of that. I just love Five the most.

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, every movie is great. We love them all, but I think Five is no doubt the best. I think it's the best action film maybe ever. It's just-

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Oh, shit.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, I said. I said. I said it, Luda. I think, ever.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I'm going to have to go check it out. I got to go watch it.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, it's so good. And then, too, we go right from the safe scene in the Danza Kuduro, which I don't speak Spanish. I don't know what Don Omar's singing, but it's just the perfect montage to wrap it up. So no, you will never ... The anniversary's coming up too, so it's perfect timing to go rewatch Fast Five.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Justin doesn't just say stuff like this, but this'll be good when you guys talk to him. Sometimes people will just say cliché things. Not with this movie. I'm saying in general. They'll be like, "Yo, this is my best album," because you're trying to promote that album, and you want it to sell. Justin looked me in my eye twice, and said, "Fast 9 is the best out of the entire franchise."

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Oh, whoa.

Derek Lawrence:

Man, that's a bold ... Like you said, he's not a guy who throws that kind of stuff perkily around.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I said the same thing, bro. Listen, for him to say that, I can't wait to see it. I can't.

Derek Lawrence:

Oh my God.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Even more hype now. On Fast Five though, the other thing that I always love to remember, and with the anniversary, I'm sure it will be talked about a lot, because it should be, you guys have a huge team-up movie before Marvel and The Avengers. So, on top of it being a great movie, it's also the best team-up movie, I think, that we have had.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I agree. I agree, because you know what I will say? I've seen a lot of movies, and you were saying that Five might be the best action scene. I definitely give Five the best fighting scene between Vin and The Rock. The most amazing fighting scene ever.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

And I loved it so much because this was the first time you ever saw a slight kink in Vin's arm. It was the very first time. And it's like neither one of them lost, and neither one of them won. It was phenomenal, bro. But I will have to say, I can't think of a better fight scene pound for pound, second for second than that damn scene.

Derek Lawrence:

It's just so punishing. That's the thing. You're sitting there watching. You're feel like you're taking the punches. I mean, do you ever think, "What was Tej up to between 2 and Five"? Maybe he got surgery to fix that limp. Maybe he went to ITT Tech." I don't know. Have you ever thought about what he's been up-

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I was fixing to say, he replaced his leg between 2 and Five, and he definitely got some lessons in tech, or he never showed anyone that he had those skills. So yes, 100%, bro.

Derek Lawrence:

Okay, we've got to take a break, but we'll be right back.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Now, let's go right back into the interview.

Derek Lawrence:

We're going to wrap up with what we call the final wrap, where we do some more fun random questions. We'll start it off. We're talking 2 Fast. If you could bring another actor into 2 Fast. We've got a time machine or whatever. We're not replacing anybody.

Derek Lawrence:

We're either bringing a totally new actor who hasn't been in Fast, or you can bring someone who doesn't show up until later, and insert them into Fast, what would be your dream pick there?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

That is a really good question, man. I've told people before, I want Matt Damon in the frame.

Derek Lawrence:

Oh my God, this is great.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Everybody's saying that.

Derek Lawrence:

You're the third person to say Matt Damon on this answer.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Who else said?

Derek Lawrence:

Tyrese and Michelle, not to spoil for ... Those will be down the road, but that's three for three on Matt Damon.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Wow, so it's either Matt Damon and, or Tom fucking Cruise, man.

Derek Lawrence:

Okay, see, now we're talking. Not to self-promote, but I wrote, because obviously everyone talking space with Fast. Tom Cruise is supposed to be making a movie where he's literally filming it in space, so I say, just bring them together. That's the perfect solution. Just have Tom Cruise as the bad guy in space that you guys have to go stop.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Even when I know I'm giving too much, but Denzel Washington, man. If Denzel were a part of this franchise somehow, after The Equalizer, if could play a role, because you have the Helen Mirrens, and you got these different people. I feel like it would be amazing if Denzel could come on too. Those are my-

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, that's been a rumor. That was a rumor, I think, maybe around 7. Now, we're getting towards the end. Maybe that finally becomes true.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Come back around.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Hopefully.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. I do want to say, again, this might be controversial. I'm sorry to do this to Tej, the character, but I ranked, a couple years ago, who the fastest and furious-est ... I mean, I think I made that word up ... is in Fast & Furious. I did the top 10.

Derek Lawrence:

I will say, most people we've talked to have not enjoyed their slots. I have Tej 10th, just because he's not driving much, right? So, he's not one of the faster. And he's not furious. He's a chill guy. I mean, so-

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

How many slots is it?

Derek Lawrence:

It was 10 out of 10, but not everyone qualified, you know what I mean?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Oh, okay. Gotcha.

Derek Lawrence:

Bow Wow didn't qualify. I would've had Tej ahead of Twinkie, no offense to Twinkie. What do you think? Do you think it should be higher? Maybe F9, we'll change it. I don't know, or does that seem fair spot.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

No, it's all good. That's perfectly fine, my character. But in real life, I'm in the top three. Better believe that. [crosstalk 00:33:39].

Derek Lawrence:

That would be 100%. It's in Act a Fool. The lyrics right there tell us where you should be in the ranking as Fast & Furious.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Absolutely. Sung would definitely be in the top three as well.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Nice.

Derek Lawrence:

Oh yeah, Sung said, "After F9, Han's ranking should definitely rise." So, I might have to do a whole new evaluation once we see the great F9.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Do we get to ever see Tej get involved in a little hand to hand? Everybody else fights, even if it's badly.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Fast 9, [inaudible 00:34:12].

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Oh, okay, and more coming.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

[crosstalk 00:34:13] 7, well, I had Nathalie with me, and I did that one move where I pushed through that, and the whole 52 thing, and did all that. [crosstalk 00:34:21] 52 blocks, so there you go.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

See, to me, that should bump you up, at least a little. That's a little furious right there.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

It's all good. Listen, that's what I want. I literally love starting out where I did, so that every single time, you see my character progress and do something out of the ordinary that you never thought that he would do. So, I'm all with that, because there's room to grow, baby.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yes.

Derek Lawrence:

Yes. In each of these interviews, we've been trying to build a spinoff or a prequel for each character. So, let's jump to after Fast 11. We wrap up the main series. I mean, what do we think a Tej movie looks like? We know the Tej-Roman spinoff has always been rumored and talked about, but I don't know. In your mind, what would a Tej vehicle look like?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Man, you know what's crazy is that, I love how other franchises are able to do this. And sometimes the ones that are the sneakers, and the ones that you least expect to be one of your favorites, it just out of the blue, just kills, right?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

So, I feel like Tej just has to be the Blank Panther of the Marvel Universe, and he'll just surprise the hell out of you. You didn't know that this many people were anticipating the Tej movie, just because you always thought that ... So, it's putting the smarts together with the action.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

I think it has to be very intelligent. That's the way that I would say it. If it's one thing I love, outside of the Fast franchise, is movies that are very, very intelligent, where you have to figure things out, and it has so many twists and turns. I love that.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

That's one thing that would differentiate myself from something that anyone else probably has said about what their spinoff would do. [crosstalk 00:36:00].

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah. I feel like, in a lot of ways, Tej has the most mystery around what he's been up to in his life, so there's a lot of room to play there.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Very true. Right, because Tyrese's character, you already know what the hell he's doing. [crosstalk 00:36:11] he's just all about that life. Yeah, that's good. I like you say that, mystery. A lot of mystery.

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, maybe we do 2 Fast 2 Smart. I don't know, I feel like we got to bring back the 2 Fast title use. I don't know. I feel like there's a way. So, you're good at teases. You gave us a good half-second tease or explanation of 2 Fast earlier. So, what would be ...

Derek Lawrence:

You already told us, F9's going to be the greatest movie of all time according to Justin Lin. But what would be your specific kind of a tease.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

He didn't say of all time. He said that's-

Derek Lawrence:

I know. That was me just deciding, because I mean, we already said Fast Five's the best action movie of all time. So, if F9's better than Fast Five, it's just automatically taken that spot. So, I'm adding my little context to that. But what would be your tease for what fans can expect when we finally get F9 in a few months?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

My tease ... I can now say this, because I was saying it on the Twitter thing as well. I almost get in trouble, because we had to keep this, us being in outer space, a secret. So now, it's okay to say. My tease is, people, we're going to outer space. Before Tome Cruise thought about it, we did it.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

So, I'm letting you know right now, outer fucking ... There's nothing else that needs to be said. We're going to outer space. Shit, I can't even [crosstalk 00:37:35]. Wow.

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, did you get a call right after ... Like you said, I know you got, you said, maybe in a little trouble. So, was your phone blowing up after you do an interview, or maybe they're cornering you about space, and you're trying to do your best to dodge it?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Absolutely. Yes. But now, we don't have to dodge it anymore. We're full throttle, man. Full throttle.

Derek Lawrence:

That's awesome. I mean, is there one wish you have left for the end of Fast? I mean, we're wrapping up the main series at least, with two more movies. But is there one thing you'd love to see or do that you haven't been able to?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Yes.

Derek Lawrence:

What is it? What do you want?

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

The only thing we haven't done now we've gone to space, underwater fight scenes.

Derek Lawrence:

Ooh. Ooh.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, that would be beautiful. Jordana told us that, she was like, "We haven't really done boats, so that would be fun." So, mixing those together.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Let's go, baby. Hey, man. Let me just tell y'all, I'm the luckiest human being alive, right? A rap career and a fucking movie career. These are the two top leading things that everyone in the world wants to do, be a movie star and a rock star. And I'm actually living it out.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

It's surreal for me to even say that. I'm just telling together because I have to tell somebody. I'm the luckiest person in the entire world, period.

Derek Lawrence:

I agree.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

We're lucky to just get to watch it.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, I feel the luckiest just knowing F9's coming out. Well, Luda, thanks again for joining and becoming part of the BINGE family. We really appreciated it, and talking 2 Fast.

Chris "Ludacris" Bridges:

Thank you guys, man.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Thank you.

Clip:

All right, here's the deal. Verone's looking for drivers. I've arranged for both of you to join up. I've also hired some thugs to make it legit.

Clip:

When do we start?

Clip:

Right now.

Derek Lawrence:

What a fantasy it was to have Luda on the pod. Truly an all-timer today. As I tease in the intro, I will never forget his literal oh-shit reaction to me declaring Fast Five the greatest action movie ever. And the thing is, I love that he eventually came around on it.

Derek Lawrence:

We love these movies so much that just the Luda conversation wasn't enough for us. We had to keep talking 2 Fast. So, considering the Hollywood elite, that the Oscars and the Golden Globes refused to recognize Fast's greatness, we're bringing some justice. We're handing out a few awards, allowing us to go a little deeper on certain parts of the movie. Yes, I'm looking at you, Eva Mendes. Chanelle, what's our first category?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

As Brian says in the first Fast & Furious movie, he says, "If I win, I take the money and the respect. To some people, that's more important." So, while he wins Dom's respect, we get to decide who wins our respect for each film. What do you think for this one, Derek?

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, it's whoever came up with the idea for the opening credits for the Universal logo to turn into the chrome wheel, and then with the spinner. And then, that goes right into an actual car, and we're in the movie. We're in Miami. We're getting ready for this race.

Derek Lawrence:

There's been some fun stuff done over the years with, whether it's the Universal logo, or some of the other studio logos. But I think, again, I would love to just sit here and say that everything Fast does is the greatest thing that's ever been done, but I might have to say it again with the Universal logo. It's just so cool and inventive, and fits this movie. And immediately, you know the look of this movie, what you're getting into, and it's so unique to 2 Fast that I love it so much.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, I completely agree. I think it also sets up, in its own way, how much fun this movie is. The first one has a lot on its shoulders in setting up both the action, but also the emotion of Dom, and what the crew ... what they're all about. This one just really leans into the comedy even more.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

And I feel like, just starting out with something that could be over the top with something like that, but it's a exciting time. And like you said, it puts you right into the movie and the fun of it. I think that's great. I would say I would an honorable mention to the Roman character, because after losing Dom for the second movie, it would be really easy to just have the second movie lose its way.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

But they come up with something that I think is really interesting, in giving a little bit of backstory on Brian by meeting this character. We hear in the first movie that he's done the years in juvie for boosting cars, but that's kind of all we know. So, I think it's really cool to bring Roman in, and flesh that out a bit more.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, and that was a lot of pressure. That's something, down the road, when we get to our Tyrese episode, he hearkens back to that. And he says, "That was definitely a thing. You can't just introduce this character and have him be like Dom, because he's already going to be compared to that, and you're not going to be able to replicate that."

Derek Lawrence:

So, they definitely go on a different direction. Obviously, we know the Roman character, definitely a transition for him. He's funny here, but he becomes the real jokester upon his return in Fast Five, and not as much the tough guy that he is here. So, that's been an interesting transition.

Derek Lawrence:

But no, you're totally right. So, I love that honorable mention. Next up, we've got the, "Hey, this guy's in the movie." Recognizing some of the maybe bit players that are recognizable for other parts of life. On the Fast 1 episode, we did Ted Levine, who's so memorable as Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.

Derek Lawrence:

Here, I think there was some good options. Another honorable mention you said earlier, Minka Kelly in her non-speaking role in the 2 Fast prelude short film, which is like, "What a ... " Go look it up. There's like six minutes. There's no dialogue, just a little bit of music.

Derek Lawrence:

And I really want to know what the budget was for that. So, good for you, Minka Kelly. Pre-Friday Night Lights Minka Kelly. Speaking of TV favorites, I actually think the winners here are Amaury Nolasco with Prison Break, and Michael Ealy of a lot of shows.

Derek Lawrence:

I always appreciated him on The Good Wife. Really, I could lose track. I could sit here and name so many movies or shows that Michael Ealy's in. Takers, another ... He reunites with Paul Walker. Takers is a real personal favorite of mine.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

True. It's underrated.

Derek Lawrence:

It's on Netflix if you haven't seen it. Yeah. I mean, Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Michael Ealy, Hayden Christensen, weirdly, and Matt Dillon. It's just a insane cast. Just really strange, but then works. They're in that early race, right? As we talked about in the opening of the movie, it's Amaury Nolasco, Michael Ealy, and Devon Aoki.

Derek Lawrence:

And they're sitting there, waiting for that fourth, who ends up being Brian. It's just a fun little thing in any these movies when you see people. You're like, "Hey, them," or maybe you didn't know who they were at the time, which is probably the case for these two, for us, right?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, I think so. I think, later too, we know that the Fast movies started to purposefully introduce little cameos of people. But this one where you really look back on it, and you're like, "Oh, wow. They managed to get all these recognizable people, who went on to do great things," which is part of the fun of being able to revisit it too, that literally everyone involved in this movie that could've just been straight to DVD, like nothing is actually a gem in so many ways. And I think part of it is having those people in there.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. I mean, you have Mark Boone Junior, the cop who gets the rat. We don't even need to go into the whole rat of it all here. But he's been in a lot of stuff, including, he's a favorite on Sons of Anarchy. Jin, who plays Jimmy. Do you remember, for 106 & Park, right? This is where he got his start.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah.

Derek Lawrence:

I remember growing up after school every day, watching 106 & Park. And this guy, Jin, who plays Jimmy the mechanic at Tej's shop, he was the ... What was it? It was the freestyle champion.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah.

Derek Lawrence:

It was whatever thing they had, like Freestyle Friday or whatever. There'd be a showdown, and he was the champ. He set the record. He became really popular just off of that. And I knew him in the moment when 2 Fast came out. I was like, "Oh my God-"

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

"Oh, it's that guy."

Derek Lawrence:

"... they got Jin from 106 & Park." So, there's plenty of cool and random people in this one. But like I said, the winner's Amaury Nolasco and Michael Ealy. What do we have next, Chanelle?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

All right, now, it's the quote of the movie. Of course, I feel like this one is really easy to just pick a bunch of them, because again, they really lean into the humor here. So, I will start with a couple of my favorites. One that I actually just say to a friend. It's not a hard punchline.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

But, every time I drive to Vegas, and I drive past Barstow, I say, "I'm not going back to Barstow," because that's pretty iconic to me. But then, lots more from Tyrese. The, "We hungry."

Clip:

Hey, man. You got something to eat up in there? We hungry.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Iconic. And a spoiler alert for the future, or a tease, but there is a Fast & Furious cast member who references some of the lines from Tyrese about food and stuff as well. So, not just impactful to us, but to people would later join the franchise, which is pretty cool. What are some of your favorites?

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, anything with Tyrese, really. I mean, it's the way he delivers it. It's the drawl he puts on it. He's not just like, "Oh, we're hungry," or, "We hungry." He's like, "We hungry," or he'll be like, "You see? I got a problem with authority." The way he says authority, that's what makes it ...

Derek Lawrence:

On paper, these lines are nothing special, but it goes back to what you said, praising him earlier. He really delivers that. But Luda settled this for us in our interview. It's Brian saying, "I said forget about it, cuh." I'm sorry. I've just rewatched that since the interview just over and over.

Derek Lawrence:

It's an iconic moment. It's gone viral a few times. I remember on Twitter over the years, every now and then, it'll pop up, and it'll just be like 90,000 Retweets, just literally, no commentary. Just that video of Paul Walker saying, "I said forget about it, cuh." I really appreciate that Luda loves it as much as we do, so it has to be the pick here, right?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, I agree. That's definitely the top. And I love knowing that other people, even in the moment, recognize just how funny that was, and with that, at the same time, that Paul Walker was game for it. He just went for it.

Derek Lawrence:

Totally. This one, less of an award, but more of a, where are they now? We're wondering what some of these characters that maybe haven't popped up over the years ... Us speculating what they're up to. Now, we about Devon Aoki with Luda.

Derek Lawrence:

We know he got the hookup from her pops at Benihana. Still no confirmation whether Tyrese struck a deal with her dad for GibsiHana, his famed backyard restaurant at his own house. But we figure, I mean, what's Suki up to? I mean, I feel like this is something that you've really long thought about, right? So, do you have any idea of what, if we're speculating?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah. Well, something that I think about too, especially with F9, and we know from the interview with Vin that they're trying to make even more callbacks to that first movie. Something that we lost without the Jesse character and then without Suki is, someone who just focuses on the design of stuff, and the technology and whatnot.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

So, if they're using more incredible cars or whatever, I would love it if, for some reason, they have to touch base, especially because Suki has worked with Tej. Maybe she has some insights there too. Tej is like, "I can figure out how to make the gadgetry work and stuff, but you help us draw up the plans for it," or something like that, I think would be really, really fun for her, because she was so into it in 2 Fast.

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, maybe she took over Tej's shop. He became a tech wizard. He's like, "Oh, I got the call from Brian. I'm going to Brazil. Watch the shop," and then he just hasn't been able to go back since. She's probably up to paperwork over her head, just the amount of stuff that Tej left her with.

Derek Lawrence:

So no, I mean, that's definitely ... If we ever got the rumored Tej and Roman spinoff, she'd have to be in it. That would be a lock of all locks.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, we have to see where she's at. I think, especially knowing that her and Ludacris are still in touch too, I think she would be down. Come back to the franchise.

Derek Lawrence:

And if her brother, Steve Aoki wants to join the part, he can maybe take on a T-Pain-type role that we saw in Furious 7. Get the whole family. Benihana can cater. Get all the Aokis back involved with Fast. Chanelle, like we said, we're handing out awards, and it's borderline criminal.

Derek Lawrence:

You want to talk about stealing DVD players in that first movie, I mean, they're stealing from us by not giving any awards over the years to the Fast franchise. But for 2 Fast, I don't know. I know what my instinct. My instinct is best original song, Act a Fool, by Ludacris, which we talked about with him in our interview.

Derek Lawrence:

It's a banger on its own. It fits seamlessly in the movie. Ludacris was one of the biggest rappers in the world at the time. He was really popping, and it just seems like a slam dunk. I mean, we were, what? Only a few years away from Three 6 Mafia winning for best original song. So look, it's not insane that Luda could've done it here.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

I think so too. I think the song is fun. I think it's difficult to try to work in the title of the movie into a song, but he does it and manages to still make it sound cool, so points for that there. I think that's the most obvious one.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

And the only other thing that I would say just as a, you probably couldn't do it, because I think it really highlights how much awards, like big award season and stuff doesn't really give into, or show recognition for comedy. But I would love to, maybe at a Golden Globes, because they do actually have comedy categories.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Maybe not the Oscar, but at least best supporting for Tyrese, for comedy somehow in there, because I think it's worth it.

Derek Lawrence:

Maybe F9 is the one. Maybe that's just-

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Please.

Derek Lawrence:

Luda says Justin Lin him it's the best one yet, so maybe it will finally get some awards recognition here. This is just a, we needed to quickly recognize best bad guy name of the entire franchise. I mean, Carter Verone in a landslide. I'm sorry, Luke Hobbs. I'm sorry, Owen Shaw, Deckard Shaw.

Derek Lawrence:

Cipher, okay. You're maybe number two. Jakob Toretto, I mean, I respect that they went with the K for Jakob instead of the C, but still. I mean, Carter Verone, played by Cole Hauser, again someone who I'm ... Anytime Cole Hauser pops up, I'm like, "Hey, it's Cole Hauser. I enjoy Cole Hauser."

Derek Lawrence:

I think he's good in 2 Fast, and I just felt like some respect needed to be paid to such an incredible bad guy name.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, it's so smooth too, which I think is always fun, because we get names like Braga or something, which are fun, but don't really have that perfect mix of, "Oh, evil, but also really suave somehow," which is amazing.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, and I think he helps with this movie, because Fast Five ... I mean, we'll eventually get to Fast Five honestly, but that's clearly the best movie of the franchise. I mean, I said it in the Luda episode, so I'm not spoiling anything here. But it's weird. Fast Five doesn't suffer from ... It probably has the least memorable technical-

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Name, yeah.

Derek Lawrence:

... big bad. It helps because it has The Rock there too, serving a little bit of that role as antagonist. But yeah, that will be something interesting to talk about with Fast Five. But then, I mean, talking about Carter Verone, that goes right into our next category, I feel like, with, which plot line went by too fast, which is like, clearly this is an award we had to give out on the 2 Fast Podcast. I don't know, where was your head at with this one?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah. Well, we talk about it a little bit just hinting with the Carter Verone stuff. But with a villain with a name that's that prominent. And we know that Monica has been undercover, but we don't really know the full extent of it. The movie, of course, there's the line even really early on when Brian is first getting the pitch for the assignment, where they're like, "She's inside, but we don't know what the status is, and if she's flipped."

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

But then, every scene that we're see with the Monica character, it's not really ever as shady as it could be. So, I'm like, "What is the connection? How deep is she really? Does she feel that pressure at all? Because we just don't get that insight from her."

Derek Lawrence:

No, you're totally right. I mean, this feels like the perfect segue into my clearing the lane out, so I can talk about Eva Mendes.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, go for it.

Derek Lawrence:

Eva Mendes, not only her ... The Monica and Carter relationship, yes, I agree which plot line went by too fast, but also, the, "We hungry," award, again, one we couldn't skip on the 2 Fast episode, it feels like it should go to Tyrese.

Derek Lawrence:

But Eva Mendes eating a grape. Go back. Find this scene. Eva Mendes is sucking on a grape as she's sitting out by the pool with Roman and with Brian. Grapes are so small. You just put it in your mouth. You just bite the grape. You eat it. You don't suck on it. But it works.

Derek Lawrence:

It works because it's Eva Mendes, and I just really say, Eva Mendes, maybe the most important actress to me for all time, for me, personally. For me, personally. You have someone here that's sitting in ... She does Training Day. That's her big first breakout, and that's in 2001.

Derek Lawrence:

2003, she's here doing 2 Fast 2 Furious. In 2005, she's in my favorite non-Fast & Furious movie of all time, Hitch. So, that's mind-blowing to me. I'm indebted to her forever. I think she's really good in this movie. As I said, if you listen to our Vin episode, Vin said he likes to take request from anyone. He'll listen to anyone.

Derek Lawrence:

My big one was like, "Give me Eva back before we wrap this sucker up." So, I just feel like we weren't able to talk about her much in the Luda interview, but I just needed a special shout-out, and I needed Eva to know how important she is, not only to 2 Fast, but to me, personally. So, thank you, Eva.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Is there a way that you would like to see her character come back specifically? Have you thought about that at all?

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, we got it at the end of Fast Five. Clearly, her and Hobbs know each other. I mean, there's a clear connection right there. Obviously, there was the whole, she was romantically linked a Brian, so obviously that connection isn't really going to be there as a reentry point. But I mean, it seems like through Hobbs.

Derek Lawrence:

Now, The Rock is in Fast 9 most likely, as far as we know. So, we would need probably him to come back, or maybe him not being there is actually her entry point in.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, if they need someone. Yeah.

Derek Lawrence:

Like, "Hey, Hobbs couldn't make it, but I was down in Miami with your boy, Brian. Go check my references. He'll say I'm good to work with." And then, bada bing bada boom, we're back in with Eva Mendes as Monica.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, I think that could work, especially because, even with that scene, there is the whole, "Do you believe in ghosts," thing. She's talking about Letty, a character that she has not met on-screen. So, clearly, her and Hobbs have talked about just the crew itself, and all the stuff they've been up to.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

So, we can believe that she's been involved and up to date on everything. I think it would be really easy to bring her in instead of Hobbs.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah, Eva, please un-retire.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Please.

Derek Lawrence:

I need you for two things. I need you back in Fast before it ends, and then I have a Hitch 2 script for you to read. So, that's it. That's all I need from you, and then you can go back to being a great mom and a great businesswoman. Getting towards the end here. We have the Ja Rule mistake of the week. Again, all these awards, it seems like we really just came up with them based off of 2 Fast, but-

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

This movie.

Derek Lawrence:

... the Ja Rule mistake of the week has to go to Ja Rule. This is a guy ... It came up in passing with Luda. It's probably a sensitive subject. Clearly, he hasn't spoke to Ja about it. But Ja Rule, small role in the first one. He was funny. It's a good little, "Monica," right?

Derek Lawrence:

He gets to yell that. That's his one big moment. Oh, and, "It's not how you stand by a car. It's how you race your car," right? Is that-

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah, some humor and an iconic line. Good combo.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. And again, Ja Rule, he's doing big things musically at this point. He's really taken off. So, the story is, apparently, they wanted him back for 2 Fast. It's, again, unclear what was ... because Ludacris ends up coming on board, but obviously they would've had to do some rewrites, because Ja Rule couldn't be ...

Derek Lawrence:

His name was already Edwin, and he knew Brian in the first one. So, we don't know how that version was going to look. I mean, he's got to look back and be like, "What could've been?" Now, would they have still been bringing Ja Rule along for F9? I don't know.

Derek Lawrence:

So yeah, it just felt like, "If we're going to have a Ja Rule mistake of the week award, it has to go to the titular Ja Rule here. Finally, we know winning's winning, Chanelle, so we have to wrap up. Who are what was the ultimate winner of 2 Fast?

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

For me, I mean, you mentioned him already a bunch, but Tyrese really, really wins, I think, in a number of ways. A, you have this character that was made because other people were dropping out, namely, of course, Vin not being in the second movie. So, they create this whole other plot.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

But then, he comes in so funny, and then that role really expands. Like you said, he becomes the jokester for the whole franchise, and who they lean on for levity. We know from talking to Luda, and also spoiler alert for everybody else, to Tyrese later, just how much of that kind of stuff is improved.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

And he creates a character that is really lovable, and also integral to essential character Brian's backstory. You can't get any better than that. Now, your nine movies deep, two more to go, off of something that was a chance. Just too a chance script-wise and whatnot. How do you win more than Tyrese, asked [inaudible 00:59:10].

Derek Lawrence:

I mean, his wallet definitely is winning at that point. How long he's been able to be around, and be such an integral part of these movies. No, but I think you're right on. I mean, obviously, Paul was incredible in this. He takes on even more responsibility from the first one with, as you mentioned, Vin not being here.

Derek Lawrence:

But yeah, I mean, Tyrese just comes in. He's like a force, both comically, physically. We didn't know, coming in, he had done Baby Boy with John Singleton, which was pretty well received. And I think he was good in it. But again, you don't know. That was one performance.

Derek Lawrence:

Obviously, I'm sure it helped, again, working with John Singleton, someone that he would continue to collaborate with for many years. But yeah, I mean, Tyrese bust through the door, and then he didn't let them kick him out. And he's still here, and he's still making us laugh. And he we can't wait for everyone to hear his chat with us too, down the road.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

Yeah. I will say, as a quick button on that too, there was an interview with Paul Walker about the fourth movie when they brought everybody back, and his one regret he said ... It was a random junket interview. But he was just saying, his one regret is that they could not bring back the Roman character for that movie.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

So, I think to come and then also have a star of the franchise like Paul Walker be like, "Hey, but we really missed out by not bringing Roman, Tyrese back," that's also a huge vote of confidence for him.

Derek Lawrence:

Yeah. Then, luckily for us all, it ended up happening with Fast Five. And I said, "Well, we'll get into much more Tyrese talk when he joins us." But that's it for 2 Fast 2 Furious. Thank you again to Ludacris for joining us. Like Brian O'Conner, we hope we earned your respect, and that you keep listening to EW's BINGE of the Fast Saga, when next week, we're welcoming Lucas Black on to talk the Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

Derek Lawrence:

Spoiler, it's a fun one. Obviously, Sean's ... It was kind of a one-off, and then he's come back into our life, including F9, but Lucas was a real thrill to talk to. So, definitely check that out. In the meantime, please subscribe and listen along every week wherever you get your podcasts. Rate us. Tell us you think, and share it with your friends and family.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

You can find us on twitter @derekjlawrence, or me, @chanelleberlin.

Derek Lawrence:

Also, head to EW.com for complete coverage of The Fast Saga and full episode transcripts.

Chanelle Berlin Johnson:

This episode was hosted and produced by Derek Lawrence and Chanelle Berlin Johnson, produced, edited, and mixed by Samee Junio, and executive produced by Carly Usdin and Shana Naomi Krochmal.

Derek Lawrence:

Thanks for listening, and until next time, salud mi familia.

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